MEMORANDUM FOR Board on Assessment of NIST Programs and Its Panels
Raymond G. Kammer
Subject: Charge to the National Research Council Board on Assessment of NIST Programs for the FY2000 Evaluation
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is very grateful to the Board members for the time, effort, and expertise devoted to evaluate the technical quality of NIST laboratory programs as reported in the FY1999 “Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories. ” For 40 years the Board has conducted expert evaluations of the technical quality of NIST (previously NBS) laboratory programs. Your findings communicated through annual reports and through open meetings have helped NIST achieve and maintain top quality expertise—often world leading—in a broad range of technical areas, thus better serving the nation. NIST highly values your hard work and insights in assessing our laboratory programs, and we look forward to working with you in FY2000. As in previous years, your FY2000 report will provide crucial information to NIST managers and technical staff as they evaluate NIST's performance and plan future directions.
The core mission of the NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories is to strengthen the U.S. economy and improve the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards. NIST metrology underpins continued development of new services and products, fosters increased productivity, enables new scientific advances, and helps bridge the gap between fundamental discoveries and new applications. NIST also pursues mission-oriented research to anticipate the development of new metrology and standards for future advances.
With advances in technology generating at least half of new economic growth worldwide, NIST measurements and standards are increasingly important to the national and global economy. Measurements and standards are required for international exchange of products and services and to ensure interoperability of global information technology systems including the Internet and other complex telecommunications networks. U.S. technical leadership in physical and documentary standards helps the nation maintain a competitive advantage.
I have challenged the NIST Measurements and Standards Laboratories to be best-in-the-world in the quality of our technical programs and the delivery of our measurement and standards services. The Board 's expert and unbiased evaluation of the NIST laboratories is crucial in helping NIST meet that challenge.
Your findings are valued not only by NIST but also by Congress and the Administration in their role of ensuring the best possible performance of government agencies and optimal return on the investment of the taxpayers. The Board's reports, based on independent and expert peer review, are an important part of NIST's reporting to Congress in compliance with the Government Performance and Results Act.
In its FY2000 report, I ask the Board on Assessment to assess the technical quality of the Measurements and Standards Laboratories with a focus on:
the technical merit of the laboratory programs relative to the state-of-the-art worldwide;
the effectiveness with which the laboratory programs are carried out and the results disseminated;
the degree to which the laboratory programs are meeting the needs for which they are intended; and,
insofar as they affect the quality of the technical programs, the adequacy of the laboratories facilities, equipment, and human resources.
NIST expects that future technology advances driving economic growth will become more interdisciplinary, including such emerging fields as information technology, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. Such fields will combine a broad range of expertise including physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, information sciences, and a wide range of engineering disciplines. Therefore, I also ask the Board to begin considering with NIST how future evaluations could better address technical issues that cut across different technical areas and different NIST operating units for possible inclusion in assessments and reports beyond FY2000.
NIST thanks you again for contributing your time and expertise to assessing the technical quality of NIST laboratory programs. Your expert, objective appraisal is crucial to continuous improvement of NIST programs.